Last night, my wife and I saw the movie Inside Out, the latest Pixar film featuring the voices inside an 11-year-old girl’s head.
I enjoyed it, even though I wondered how much children might receive it since it seemed to deal with much larger themes than I can remember comprehending as a child. Then again, I don’t want to sell younger children short. I’m sure they can relate to dealing with feelings about their parents or friends, and I am willing to bet they understand more than I might expect.
During the credits, I saw this message:
This film is dedicated to our kids. Please don’t grow up. Ever.
The wording and punctuation is creeping me out. Put it in scary horror movie font, and you’ve got yourself a tagline for a slasher film about a murderous monster who targets kids.
Now, I get what they meant here. The appeal was for their children to keep their childlike wonder of the world, to avoid the idea that maturity means you can no longer play or be a goofball. And I’m all for that sentiment.
I want to see children express their creativity, explore their world, and feed their insatiable curiosities.
But they can grow up as they do so.
When I think back to my younger self, there are things I miss. Some things I don’t have time for because other priorities have taken over, and some I have made a conscious effort to bring back into my life. I don’t read encyclopedias in my spare time. Instead, I read with a focus, often looking up the thing I specifically want to know and diving deep into it only as far as I need to.
I used to doodle a lot, and I took two art classes in high school, but I let it go for a few years before picking it back up again almost 10 years ago. I now make a point of bringing my pencils and drawing pad to the weekly Team Trivia and draw the people around me.
But there are things I’d be embarrassed about. I don’t miss my awkwardness when meeting new people. I’m glad I’m more aware of the existence of an entire world around me because my youthful cockiness and self-centeredness would make it hard for me to get along with people today.
As you get older, you take on more and more responsibilities for yourself. It requires you to be ready for it, and some people struggle with the transition. For these people, getting older means never making time for enjoyment or learning because there is always work to do.
Being a grown-up doesn’t have to mean stunting your growth or stifling your dreams.